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January 1 – Introduction to the book of Psalms

Where are you going this year? Where are you headed in life? Do you know what’s better than a New Year’s Resolution? …a Life’s Resolution. The Psalms formulate one for us. They clarify our destination, prescribe a daily habit, and guarantee our success. Let me explain these three.

First, your life will end either in heaven or hell. Where are you headed? Have you made a conscious decision? Unless you deliberately aim to be at home with God, you will end up in hell. If you stick with the Psalms, expect to see God’s home (and yours) by the end of the month.

Second, if heaven is your long-term goal, what steps must you take today? The Psalms prescribe “delighting in God”. Since we have natural cravings for that which leads to hell, God designed the Psalms as a series of exercises called “meditation”. To develop cravings for God, you will want to exercise daily.

Finally, do you know what makes heaven so heavenly? It’s not the place, but a Person. You need a relationship, not a religious ritual to arrive in God’s presence. The Psalms guarantee our success by training us to trust God’s Son – the King.

I like to summarize it this way: The Psalms train us to meditate on and delight in God’s instruction (1:2) so that by faith we take refuge in God’s Son (Psalms 2:12) and end up standing before God in the congregation of the righteous (1:5-6). For the next 31 days, the Psalms will be our spiritual coach. As your trainer, I will tell you when to read individual verses and what to do with them. Remember, we are exercising. You will only get out of it what you put into it. With God’s blessing, your faith will be more lively at the end of the month by actively engaging every day.

I hope to meet you one day – standing with all the other saints in the presence of God. Until then, keep trusting in King Jesus who will safely bring us there. 

The exercise method: Meditate to delight in God

“Blessed is the man … his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1, 2

Scripture reading: Psalm 1:1-6

With the passing of time, we are one step closer to the finish line. That’s where Psalm 1 ends – at the presence of God. Either we will be known by God, or we will perish under His judgment (read 1:5-6). We are running the most important race we will ever run – the marathon of life.

The first psalm introduces the whole book as a series of exercises designed to run your race by faith (See the introduction). Each psalm trains us in two important skills – delighting and meditating (1:2). Delighting is the result; meditating is the routine that develops the result. Meditating has to do with what you listen to and who you follow. That means ignoring the counsel of the wicked, to keep from adopting their lifestyle and talking like them (1). Instead, the blessed man listens to God’s Word (read 1:1-2).

Reading and thinking on God’s Word is like watching an instant replay in slow motion. Watching satisfies the soul. That’s delightful. The more we meditate on God’s Word … the more accurately we value God’s works … the more we delight in God Himself. That kind of exercise strengthens our faith like the healthy and productive tree (read 1:3-4).

By following this exercise routine, Jesus withstood Satan’s temptations and eventually went to the cross. To grow in Christ’s likeness and stand in the congregation of the righteous, we will use the psalms this month to exercise our faith by meditating to delight in God.

Suggestions for prayer

Confess the modern voices (e.g. movies, media, friends, etc.) that delight you more than God. Thank God for making Himself known in His Word. Ask for a greater delight in God’s Word and a more faithful habit of meditating on Him.

Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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